Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, MD, FFARCSI

Testosterone is a hormone which is involved in development and growth of male sexual characters. It is responsible for pubic hair growth in men, appearance of chest hair, deepening of their voice and boosting of their penis size. It is also responsible for maintaining of sexual drive in men and it also bestows a man with a general feeling of well-being.

Why Do Men Take Testosterone?

When there is an underproduction of testosterone, a man may experience various changes in his body. Typically, after the age of 30, testosterone starts declining gradually in the body and this process then continues throughout the life. Many consider it as a normal process of aging. However, some do not agree with this theory. Men take testosterone for various reasons. Some of them are given below-

  • A reduction in the amounts of testosterone may decrease a person’s sex drive.
  • Other effects of low testosterone include weight gain, especially fat gain, and various other effects according to the age at which the problem is diagnosed.
  • If the problem starts when the baby is not even born, then there may be problems like impaired growth of sex organs, which may be of various types- the baby can be genetically male but may have female sex organs, the baby may not have either of the sex organs in clear precision or the baby may have less developed male sex organs.
  • If the problem arises during puberty, then there may be signs like lesser development of muscle mass, lack of development of voice to a deeper tone, absence or less of body hair, undergrowth of penis and testicles, and in some cases development of breasts.
  • If the issue arises in adulthood, there might be problems like erectile dysfunction, lowered sex drive, concentration difficulties and a general feeling of being unwell.

In most of the cases, the testosterone decrease is due to testicular failure which can be either primary or secondary. In any case, many men choose testosterone replacement therapy as an option for treatment. This may be recommended or needed in some cases, while in others it is just a choice. However, there are certain benefits as well as harmful effects of this treatment.

Benefits of testosterone replacement therapy include-

  • Testosterone replacement therapy may help in treating testicular failure or male hypogonadism by reversing the symptoms.
  • It may improve a person’s lost sex drive
  • If testosterone deficiency is diagnosed at puberty, then treatment with hormone may induce puberty like signs in a person. One may start getting pubic hair, his penis may start to develop; and he may start gaining other sexual characteristics.
  • It promotes bone health in a person.

Risks of Testosterone Replacement Therapy

  • Testosterone may be responsible for a rise in a man’s RBC count.
  • Testosterone may also be responsible for enlarged breasts in some. Those undergoing a treatment for breast cancer should not be taking testosterone under any circumstances.
  • Testosterone is also not to be given to persons with prostate cancer. Also, it is associated with benign prostatic hyperplasia. Though, this study is still under evaluation, studies have found a link between the two.
  • It may increase chances of sleep apnea. In this disorder, the breathing frequently starts and stops. This condition is quite dangerous.
  • It may cause various skin problems in men.
  • It may result in cardio-vascular damage.

Testosterone is a male sexual hormone, which is responsible for the development and growth of sexual characters in males. Reduced production of testosterone is not a very common problem and may cause many problems in males, some of them as serious as infertility. Many men take testosterone for various reasons. Some take because of the need while for others it is just a choice. However, the pros and cons of taking testosterone should be properly weighed before starting on the hormone therapy and it should be done after proper consultation with the specialist.

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Pramod Kerkar

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD,FFARCSI

Pain Assist Inc.

Last Modified On: November 13, 2018

This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer

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